Welcome The New Berlin Brandenburg Airport In 2012
Filed in Economy
As the capital city of Germany, Berlin has had its run of airports. The newest is called Berlin Brandenburg International (airport code BBI or BER) a.k.a. Willi Brandt Airport, and is scheduled to open in the latter half of 2012. That is, only if officials have their way. Construction is still underway, despite some protests from local Berliners who are upset over the flight paths.
City officials hope to stream all of their passengers into this one mega-airport. Right now, Berlin’s air traffic is divided up between Berlin-Tegel Airport in the northwest and Berlin-Schönefeld Airport in the south.
Because of the long history of these two airports, their size is limited. For the last few years, they’ve been at a breaking point, bursting with passengers and they can not be expanded any further. The obvious solution is to either build a new one or expand an existing one that can accommodate all of those people visiting this vibrant metropolis.
Now, Berlin decided to expand its existing Berlin-Schönefeld Airport and rebrand it to the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport. Once this new super-sized airport comes into the picture, the plan is to phase out the older airport of Tegel. A third airport, the historic Tempelhof, was closed in 2008 already.
Berlin-Tempelhof Airport was once among the twenty largest buildings on earth. Orville Wright, the father of flight, made one of his first flying demonstrations here and the airport also played a vital role in the Allied-led Berlin Airlift at the beginning of the Cold War.
One of the most notable features of Tempelhof was its canopy-roof, which let passengers disembark in heavy rains without getting wet, and was certainly much-beloved by grateful visitors. The entire complex was built to look like an eagle in flight. The hangars, semi-circle in shape, represented the spread wings.
Tegel has its own long and interesting histories, which will regrettably come to a close. Before we say good-bye to it, let’s remember its best moments. :-)
Berlin-Tegel is known for its hexagon-shaped building. This unique shape allows for some of the shortest flight connections you can imagine. Some airport access walkways are just thirty meters (ninety-eight feet). Passengers, which numbered over fourteen million in 2008, will certainly miss the convenience! But Tegel wasn’t always such a well-traveled place.
The delicate political situation of the Cold War meant that it was, at one time, a highly-restricted airport. Only holders of American, British or French passports were allowed to serve as flight crew (i.e., pilots, navigators, etc.) and only Allied airlines could fly in and out of it.
Berlin-Schönefeld was once the only airport serving the Communist East Berlin. It is also notable for its great pride in being a “green” airport. During its construction, the crews went out of their way to protect ancient oak trees, and even relocated bats and amphibians whose habitats were in or around the airport.
So while these airports will be missed, the future is always an exciting place. Visitors to Berlin in the coming years — expected to be over 25 million! — can look forward to a new, cutting-edge airport that will soon create its own interesting history.
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